The Florida Panther is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Although the Florida panther has long been considered a unique subspecies of cougar, a genetic study of cougar mitochondrial DNA finds that many of the supposed subspecies are too similar to be recognized as distinct, which results in the classification of the Florida Panther as one species, the North American Cougar (Puma concolor).
Biologists estimate roughly 80-100 Florida panthers remain in the wild, and a majority of them live in the southwest portion of the state. Southern Florida is a fast-developing area, and declining habitat threatens this species.
The two highest causes of mortality for the Florida panther are automobile injuries and aggression between panthers for territory. The primary threats to the population as a whole include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation. There is no record of a Florida panther attacking a person.
Federal investigators are offering a $15,000 reward for information related to the March shooting of an endangered Florida panther.
Florida panthers enter the political minefield
• The Cougar Fund
In the wake of recent panther deaths, some local Florida politicians and outdoorsmen believe there are hundreds more cats in the state than USFWS is claiming, and that the animal should be removed from the Endangered Species List.
Integrating Values and Ethics into Wildlife Policy and Management—Lessons from North America
• The Cougar Fund
Fox and Bekoff (2011)
Abstract: Few animals provoke as wide a range of emotions as wolves. Some see wolves as icons of a lost wilderness; others see them as intruders. As the battle continues between wolf proponents and opponents, finding solutions that resolve conflicts while supporting the integrity of nature is challenging. In this essay we argue that we need to make room for wolves and other native carnivores who are re-colonizing areas from which they were extirpated. Strategies that foster coexistence are necessary and wildlife agencies must consider all stakeholders and invest adequate resources to inform the public about how to mitigate conflicts between people/domestic animals, and predators. Values and ethics must be woven into wildlife policy and management and we must be willing to ask difficult ethical questions and learn from past mistakes.